Digital motors: green performance and efficiency — at the same time

Francesco Plateroti – Operations manager, Appliances HVAC and Lighting, UL
Francesco Plateroti – Operations manager, Appliances HVAC and Lighting, UL

Entering the new frontier of digitization in electric motor development is the concept of useful power: The digital motor offers an opportunity to deliver a green, ecofriendly performance as well as incredible efficiency.
Our experts at UL are noticing a definite trend of increasing awareness on this topic, so much so that, today, the green aspect is considered more and more critical, especially in local and cultural contexts where going green is supported by adequate incentive policies and tax breaks.
From our experience, we have noticed increasingly significant growth in motors with incorporated electronics at the expense of traditional electric motor construction, such as asynchronous construction. We also observed companies with boards engaged in designing new controls, allowing the product to be adapted to countless final applications, focusing on the electronic control’s ductility.
Through constant dialogue with several manufacturers, we have seen that by including electronics in motors, the applications they belong to can be remotely manageable by the end user. This makes the product much more attractive to the consumer and proves the electronics’ abilities to manage the engine a winning factor for the final product.
Engine digitization also includes new eco-labeling regulations (CSA C390-10, CSA C747-09 and IEC 60034-2-1). Electronics applied to motors enhance their performance, making them more usable and working at operating points with maximized efficiency. The presence of electronic engine control and the required efficiency levels go hand in hand, creating synergy between technological development and responsible energy use.
The market’s operational development is oriented toward broader sustainability that includes concepts of recyclability and reuse. Digital engines have many internal components that are chosen for their potential to be reused or, at the very least, recycled. For example, silicon present in electronic boards could be reused to reduce electronic waste, or e-waste, and increase its availability in supply chains that have a high demand for silicon, e.g., the photovoltaic sector.
Overall, our findings show that as in many other sectors — even in a field as specific as the electric motor — the contribution of digital to general qualitative product growth is substantial and contributes to our work toward combining performance and sustainability.